Mid-South abortion providers react to news of Roe v. Wade decision

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has sent waves through the clinical community in Memphis.

For places like Planned Parenthood, the news was something that was expected but shocking nonetheless.

“I’m heartbroken that our worst fears have become a stark reality,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood for Tennessee and North Mississippi.

Coffield believes this court’s decision, followed by Mid-South state trigger laws, will cause a public health crisis for women seeking an abortion.

The power of regulating abortions now rests with state legislatures, and Coffield alluded to upcoming elections and how Mid-South states can win back, what pro-choice advocates consider, a right to an abortion.

“We will not forget the Tennessee and Mississippi lawmakers who have systematically rolled back our rights and bartered our bodies for votes,” Coffield said.

The latest abortion numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health come from 2019.

In that year, Shelby County performed the most abortions in the state (3,103), which was over double the number of abortions in the #2 Davidson County (1,352).

“The legacy of Roe v. Wade is 65 million unborn babies killed,” said Kent Pruett.

Pruett is a pro-life activist with the group Women’s Care Network, who post outside Planned Parenthood’s Poplar Ave. location in Memphis during its business hours.

He was outside on Friday morning when the news broke of the Supreme Court ruling.

Even after Tennessee’s trigger law goes into effect, Pruett said he and others will continue to post outside Planned Parenthood.

“They’ll be referring people to abortions. I imagine they’ll be transporting and getting pregnant women to Illinois. It’ll go on,” he said. “Sadly, it’s legal. It’s still going to be legal in some states, so we’ll still need to be here.”

Pruett is not far off from what Planned Parenthood is looking into.

Coffield told us Planned Parenthood is working on a patient navigation and assistance program to find the closest location a patient can receive an abortion and the most efficient way to get there.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that finances and logistics do not stand in the way of any person getting the abortion care they need,” Coffield said.

Just down Poplar Avenue, another abortion clinic reacted to the news.

CHOICES released the following statement:

Choices recently announced an expansion to Carbondale, Illinois, where they will continue to provide abortions.

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